Institutional Review Board Links

How to get help
We encourage you to attend our training workshops on submitting an application to the IRB. We are also available to provide assistance via phone, Teams or email.

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What is the Institutional Review Board?

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Institutional Review Board, known simply by its initials as “the IRB,” comprises an independent oversight body of health professionals and community representatives housed within the Office of the Institutional Review Board in the DPH Chief Science Office. The IRB committee and the Office of the Institutional Review Board are responsible for assuring that all research and related activities such as evaluation, needs assessment, non-legally mandated surveillance and some QA/QI projects involving DPH staff, facilities or clients/patients is conducted in accordance with the highest scientific and ethical standards and applicable federal and state regulations (45 CFR 46).

The IRB ensures the right of research subjects or participants to:

  • Freely decide on the basis of complete and accurate information whether or not to participate
  • Have their privacy respected and their information kept confidential
  • Participate only in research devoted to answering significant questions with sound scientific methods
  • Have any risks of research kept to a minimum and balanced by potential benefits.

The core IRB function is reviewing applications submitted by researchers (or the responsible DPH staff liaison for outside and multi-agency collaborations). The instructions, links and other information presented on this website are intended to help researchers navigate the process for submitting an application for IRB review.

The IRB review process is thorough and it is often the case that applications are not approved unconditionally on their first try. In such instances, applications may be conditionally approved pending satisfaction of stipulations which state that certain aspects of the project must be changed or clarified. In some cases, the application may be sent back for substantial rethinking and revision. This should not be considered a disaster, however, as nearly every application is eventually approved!

The IRB strives to improve not only the quality of individual applications but also the richness of the overall research environment by ensuring that data-gathering activities adequately integrate principles of ethics and equity. Therefore, the IRB supports its core function through an active outreach, consultation and training program. Please visit our Trainings page for information about upcoming workshops.

Who does the IRB serve?

The IRB serves all LA County Department of Public Health facilities, staff, patients, clients, and databases, even if other agencies or individuals have primary responsibility.

The IRB also serves projects from Department of Health Services (DHS) Health Services Administration and the Ambulatory Care Network.   Some DHS-related projects must be reviewed by IRBs at the various County medical centers.

Finally, the IRB serves several community partner organizations via memoranda of agreement.

Check with the IRB about coverage for a particular proposed project if you are in doubt.

Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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